Archive for January, 2013


Marriott Vinoy, St. Pete

So the headline begs the question. I’ve got some ideas, but I really want to hear from you!

First it was e-Commerce. I remember coming to ICMG for the first time in 2004 at Aventura. E-business!!! Web sites with online quoting, e-Applications, Agent Portals, Agent Contracting, Online Policy Maintenance – all that stuff. Everybody SAID they were doing it. But very few people were ACTUALLY doing it. And the ones that were doing it weren’t doing it very well!

Fast forward 10 years. Most people are doing all those things, and doing them pretty well.

But now the same comments apply to Social Tech, don’t they? Everybody SAYS they are doing it. But very few people are ACTUALLY doing it. And the ones that ARE doing it aren’t doing it very well!

So what are we going to be talking about next? What’s beyond Social Tech??? Prognosticate in the comments below.

Btw, my 30-second commercial for this year’s Member Introductions.

“I’m helping insurance companies and large agencies understand how to leverage Social Technologies. So things like Crowdsourcing, Online Reputation Management, Organizational Voice, Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Blogs, Video’s, Podcasts, Measurements – all that. I help folks develop the strategy that suits their organization. I’m also running public and private Social Tech Boot Camps for Insurance Executives. I’ve got 5 public ones scheduled for the next 10 weeks. Lastly I’m working on a video of this conference. The question? What’s your favorite part of ICMG? And what’s your favorite movie line? Social Tech – there’s a ton of low-hanging fruit if you know what you’re doing.”

So what’s next??? Mobile? Wearable technology? Implantables? Thanks in advance.



Katie Herbst Peet
Victory is Tweet!

Katie Herbst Peet is an industry veteran when it comes to insurance companies and Social. Katie started out in Social at Westfield Insurance near Akron, OH. Then she got married and relo’d to Columbus with her husband, whereupon she started helping State Auto with their Social Tech efforts.

Since I was already going to be in Columbus meeting with another prospective insurance company client, Katie graciously agreed to do a podcast from her office. The topic we tackled piggy-backs on the last, highly active, post about executives and “Abdication“:

Given that my audience is executives, I would like to focus on your experiences with best practices as you observe them at the executive level that have a positive impact on the ability for the insurance organization to become a more Social Business.

Listen in. CLICK HERE to open or download the MP3 file.

17 Key points made by Katie from my POV:

  1. “Have an understanding of Social Tech themselves. Executives are setting the direction.”
  2. Blogging and Twitter? “Start internally…more impactful in some ways…”
  3. Twitter – “Helped me expand my network…Listening is the way to start…”
  4. “Need to understand the logistics of Twitter… ‘Good #’s = happy Board.’” FIRED!
  5. Blocking YouTube? “We don’t have that blocked here.” Great use ideas.
  6. “Have conversations like that in a cross-functional way.”
  7. “Doesn’t serve anyone to brush things under the rug.”
  8. “Social is an organizational thing… completely changes things for a lot of reasons…”
  9. “Finding that common ground…”
  10. Chris Paradiso is a great example of a local agent.
  11. “It’s not about them, it’s about their customer…What do their customers want.”
  12. “Most people aren’t going to find that.”
  13. “Agents doing a tremendous job and growing their business..”
  14. Jason Cass in Centralia, IL
  15. Vaughn Insurance and Nibby Priest “This is a sustainable thing.”
  16. “The changes have so much more impact…they impact everything that we do.”
  17. “What does this mean for our employees…”

Thanks Katie. I hoped it would be good and you delivered.

What questions or comments do YOU have for Katie? Now’s the time. Ask away. She’s listening.

Iconic Prudential Center, Boston

Iconic Prudential Center, Boston

I read a recent article that spoke about the critically important role Social Technologies will play in the survival of business. The focus was the current lack of participation in Social Tech at the executive level. While the article wasn’t specifically pointed at the insurance industry, based on my experiences within the insurance vertical, especially the Life, Health, and Accident sector, my experience affirms the following truths.

  1. The insurance industry has always been slow to adopt new technologies.
  2. In an era of Big Data, insurance companies that are still relying on legacy technologies are falling further and further behind consumer expectations with regard to data flow and integration.
  3. These consumer expectations are being established by consumer experiences in a variety of settings with products and services of all kinds.
  4. Only a handful of insurance companies, most often those that focused on Direct-to-Consumer sales and service models, are adapting to these new expectations.
  5. Those insurance companies that use distribution channels such as agency, association, and worksite marketing, continue to struggle with technologies of all kinds that are advancing faster than their capacity to adapt and integrate.
  6. As always in business, these issues can only be solved by leadership driving change. And that leadership must be savvyabout technology in order to effectively direct that change.

    Compelling Stat, Hubspot

    Compelling Stat, Hubspot

  7. However, for the last 20 years or so, the standard response of insurance executives relative to technology is, “I have people that are doing that…” or “I’ll leave that to the techies…” or something along those lines.
  8. More specifically, relative to Social Tech, many executives are still saying things like, “When someone can show me the ROI of Social Media, I’ll be more than happy to use it.”
  9. So in other words, they are willing to be 2nd, not 1st. Yet, these same executives will proclaim that they are “thought leaders.
  10. And so their organizations are stuck. Line managers know that existing business models are struggling but they don’t want to rock the boat. Instead, they engage in protectionism and internal competition, rather than creativity, innovation, and change.

So do you see how incredibly damaging it is for insurance company executives to abdicate technological strategy? I heard it said this way recently,

“Many executives are committing corporate treason by abdicating technology leadership.”

I doubt that there’s actually deception going on – a necessary component of treason, but you get the point: If an executive is tasked with strategic leadership, and yet they don’t understand technology, much less set the direction for its use, aren’t they putting the enterprise at risk?

The top insurance companies today are actually “technology companies in the business of insurance” rather than “insurance companies leveraging technology.” The most effective executives in insurance tomorrow will be the ones who understand technology, who use it with their own hands, who write about technology and teach it to their staff and business partners, and who create dashboards that will continuously put new information in view about how to leverage technology.

To that end, I’ve got a handful of public Social Tech Boot Camps for Insurance Executives scheduled over the next few months, plus a few private ones. After that, I’ll be moving on.

What’s next? A LOT. But if executives don’t understand Social Tech and Web analytics, they won’t be able to understand and apply what’s coming after.

Do you agree? Or is there still more time to wait and see on Social Tech? Is the Blockbuster video demise instructive? They fell off a cliff. Is the current overhaul of the health insurance business model a direct result, among other reasons, of an industry not leveraging technology to the point of exasperation of the constituent base? (Remember, Obamacare passed by ONE VOTE.)

Am I out in left field on this? Please drop a Comment. Perhaps then Share the post on Linkedin and ask your network to Comment as well.

What’s at stake? What’s the solution?

Archives to 2005